Do the impossible- by cheating!

Well, not cheating, necessarily… let’s just say liberal interpretation of the rules.

You know those tasks in fairy tales that the hero must accomplish to win the girl? Or the kingdom? Or whatever it is that they want? As the result of many wiki walks and forum lurking, I have compiled a list of tasks that should be completely impossible, but really aren’t if you’re clever enough. Who knows, they could be useful, in case you ever run into a smart-alecky fae, or write a book where the main character has such misfortune, or if you just want to make sure your boyfriend/girlfriend is clever enough. Two notes before we get started:

1) These are not the kind of impossible tasks that are only accomplished with the help of swarms of random animals, witches, or Hermits™ of various kinds. These are the kind of solutions that could reasonably be done with tools we all have around us, by normal people. Because not all of us have a freaking personal genie, Aladdin…

2) Wording is key. Keep that in mind, if you ever get trapped by the Fae or by a group of vicious lawyers. The task is all in the wording, and a single word can dictate whether a task is truly, truly impossible or just your regular breed of impossible. For example, there’s a big possibility gap between “eat a mountain of bread by yourself” and “eat a mountain of bread”.

Without further ado, bring on the tasks!

“Well, shucks.”

Carrying water in a sieve. This one’s a classic, but is fortunately not as hard as it is old. Solutions: Plug the holes with mud or moss so that the sieve can carry water. If that’s not practical, or doesn’t actually work (I’ll admit, I’ve never actually tried it myself), there is another way. Carry the water inside of another container placed within the sieve. That way, you’re still technically carrying water within the sieve. Technicalities are beautiful. (On a side note, remember the container within a container trick. Anytime you need to trap or carry something that should be impossible, just whip out this neat little solution. Example: Trapping smoke within a cage or some such thing.)

Making a rope out of ashes. Also a classic, this one shows up in several old tales, with several different solutions. Solution one: make a rope out of straw, then burn it. Easy. But if your going for a stricter interpretation of  ‘ash rope’, you could soak a rope with salt water and let it dry, then burn it. I heard it will keep it’s shape- but then again, never actually tried it.

Task: Buy with one coin an item that will fill an entire room. Some failed solutions are trying to fill the room with grain or feathers. Honestly, I like the feather idea (how fun!), but it doesn’t cut it. The real solution? Buy a candle, and fill the room with light.

Not exactly what I meant; just go with it. Use your imagination.

Getting an object (jewel, crown, stuffed duck, etc.) from the middle of a large rug without tools or touching the rug with your feet. Oh, and the rug is too big to just stretch over. So, roll up the rug until you get to the middle. Simple. Even my little sister solved this one, admittedly after coming up with a bunch of other weird solutions involving technology unavailable to your average medieval bloke.  (No, you cannot build a robot and have it get the crown for you!! Why? BECAUSE YOU CAN”T!!!! Do you have robot-building material in your pocket? HUH? Do you? Besides, do you even know how to build a robot?!? I thought not…)

Have a man dive into a lake without getting his hair wet. This one is obviously an older one, because the modern invention of swim caps pretty much renders it pointless. But, let’s just say you don’t happen to have a swim cap. Or maybe you’re just the cool kind of person who wants to go with the cleverer, more awesome solution. In that case, what you would do is find a bald man, and have him do it. Or, if you’re desperate (really desperate, if you happen to be a girl), shave your head and do it yourself.

Bring it.

Oh no! Now your task is to fight someone (or do some active thing- run a marathon, perhaps?) without spilling a drop out of a full cup of water. And let’s just assume you’re not Jackie Chan and can’t do this through sheer skill and martial arts prowess. (And if you are Jackie Chan, may I just take this moment to thank you for visiting my blog?) Now, if the judge is stupid and words this one wrong, you could always just set the dang thing down before you begin. But if they specify that you can’t let go of the cup, what do you do? Drink it!

There’s this big bedroom, with a bed on one side, and a candle on the other. Your task? Blow out the candle and make it to the bed before the room goes dark. And trust me, no matter how fast you think you are, you are not faster than the speed of light. The solution: do it during the daytime with the windows open. That way the room is certainly not going dark anytime soon. Alternately, if the room has no windows, you could always pick up the candle, sit down on the bed, then blow the candle out.

Here’s a couple of impossible tasks, from the tale The Wise Old Woman. What if you had to run a single thread through a long, crooked log? Then you tie the thread to an ant, put honey on the other side of the log, and the ant will run it through. (See, there’s a proper example of a creature of some sort helping you. Notice the completely normal behavior of the ant- it’s not talking, offering you advice, or sorting piles of grain at your request…) Next, what if you had to make a drum that sounds without being beaten? You could seal a bumblebee inside a small hand drum, which will beat itself against the sides to try and escape. However, my little sister thought this was cheating, as it is still technically “beating” the drum. In an unusual bought of cleverness, she suggested you could go into an echoing cave, beat the drum once, and listen to the echo. That way, the drum would make sound without being beaten. Two solutions- take your pick.

Sorting ash from lentils, or barley from wheat, or (huge piles) of any such annoying grain. Note, this task isn’t so much impossible as it is really, really annoying. If you added a time limit, then it could become an impossible task. And there are two sets of rules for tasks of this nature. In one, you have to sort the grains, meaning both types must be there in the end. In the other, you merely have to separate two or more annoying things- it doesn’t matter where they end up. For the second kind, you could get a flock of birds to eat the lentils or the type of seed they like. Hey- they’re separated, even if those lentils are not coming back. For the first kind, where you have to actually have the piles, the only solution I can come up with is using wind to separate them. Such as blowing the ashes into a bag. Admittedly, not the best, but Cinderella’s solution involves talking to birds. *sigh*

Cutting water. Or any liquid. Solution: freeze the water. There’s not much to elaborate on, really.

Eh, close enough for me.

Next, the fiendish task of capturing a rainbow… There are two solutions to this one. Firstly, you could put a mirror inside a jar, and angle it to reflect a rainbow. Secondly, (if you happen to be really rich), you could always show up with an opal!

And finally, we have some riddle-style commands, such as having to appear before a challenger neither naked nor clothed, neither riding nor walking, in neither day nor night. To get around this tricky set of conditions, make like a fish and wear a fishnet, show up with one foot on a goat, and at twilight (or an eclipse, if you’re the dramatic type). You could also crawl, but hobbling along balanced on a goat is just cooler.

Very lastly, here’s a rather riddle-ish solution, from a character who could have a career as a lawyer. (From Ironside, by Holly Black) The faerie Kaye is forbidden from seeing the one she loves until she can find a faerie that can tell a lie, but is promised his hand if she can. She solves this by claiming she is able to lie, without mentioning that she means lay down on the ground. Yep, a promising future in the law field!

Well, that’s all for my comprehensive list of impossible tasks and how to solve them. You could also check out this page on TV Tropes (I got some of the tasks off of there), but I found it was mostly a list of books and stories that had impossible tasks in them, not the tasks themselves. Not exactly the straight list I was looking for. Actually, there was no list like that, so I just made it myself.

Done. (whew)

Ciao,

Zepher

Now for a special addition: step-by-step solving ! Here’s some steps for coming up with solutions for these kind of things by yourself. Let’s go with a well known impossible task from the song Scarborough Fair, which doesn’t have a solution presented as part of the song. “Tell her to make me a cambric shirt… without a seam or needle work.”

Hmm… seemingly impossible at first glance, right? Well, never fear! Lawyer-man and his comprehensive dictionary are here!

It’s Lawyer-man! Duh du dun!

The first step is to look up the definition for “seam”, to see how liberal a meaning we can get away with, here. Copied word for word from Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary: seam \sém\ n 1: the joining of two pieces (as of cloth or leather) by sewing usually near the edge.

Well, yay! That makes things easy. All we can’t do here is sew. So, what other ways are there to join two pieces of cloth together? The solution is to use glue, and just stick the piece of the shirt together, technically (man, I love that word) leaving no seams. If you need to go medieval, you could use bookbinder’s glue. Or dried honey, if you want to be a druid and go eco-friendly.

Unfortunately, if you continue reading the dictionary, there is a second definition of seam that seems to eliminate this solution. ²seam vt  1 a:  to join by sewing   b:  to join as if by sewing. Well, crap. A seam can also be joined as if by sewing. If you have a strict task-giver, glue might not cut it (remember: it always depends on the wording and how adherent to being a jerk the judge is. I would say most would pass the glue thing, since it follows the first and primary definition of seam, and the other definition appears to refer to welding.) But just in case… It looks like Lawyer-man just has to go deeper into the exciting world of definitions, loopholes, exceptions, and dictionaries!

If we look at the definition of shirt, Webster’s own tells us that a shirt is really “a garment for the upper part of the of the body: as a cloth garment usually having a collar, sleeves, a front opening, and a tail.” Well, alright then. There is one very important word in this definition that allows success- the word usually. Which means “not always.” So a shirt usually has sleeves and whatnot,  but it doesn’t have to. Which means any garment covering the upper body is technically (there’s that word again) a shirt.

Square piece of cloth. Cut a hole in the middle. Boom. Poncho.

Oh, the heroic work of lawyers.

PS. If you have any more of these tasks, or another solution to any of the ones mentioned above, please add them in the comments!

Advertisements

Fake Embarrassing Stories

Have you ever been to one of those parties where the main entertainment is everyone sitting in a circle and telling their most embarrassing story? What a stupid game! I mean, embarrassing stories are kept secret for a reason- you try and forget them for the rest of your life as soon as they occur. The world, however, has it against you, and seems to insist on dredging up the worst moments of your life. And forcing you to relive them in front of a group of strangers. Swell.

It’s not so bad at first. You’re generally enjoying yourself, laughing at other people’s expense, and everything is just peachy. Suddenly, it’s your turn, and you realize that you don’t have anything planned to say. It’s really embarrassing, actually.

Never fear! We’ve come up with a solution to save you from actually having to reveal one of those awful moments in your life! Alternately, if you live a really sheltered life or have a really bad memory, to save you from not having anything to say. The trick is to be prepared for these kind of sticky situations.

Here are a few pre-made stories for you to use. They require a bit a adaptation and story telling ability, but you’re going to have to figure that one out. I’m not going to do all the work for you…

(Note: none of these fake embarrassing stories have ever happened to any of the members of the Ninja Gang. None of them. Ever.)

Mild: For those of you who aren’t daring enough to go for an actual embarrassing story. Because you will have to pretend these actually happened to you.  They’re just one-liners, because, well, they’re mild.

You were studying so hard that you forget to take your clothes off before stepping into your running shower.

Someone caught you reading a book upside-down, and thought that you were eavesdropping instead of reading.

You tripped and fell on your face while wearing a kilt. In front of a bunch of people. Ouch.

Medium:

Your friend’s dad tells you to clear the table. You start laughing, because he’s smirking, and you really can’t tell whether he’s joking or not. You assume he’s joking, because he’s smirking, and well, that’s not the sort of thing you’re supposed to do when you’re having dinner at a friend’s house. Turns out he wasn’t joking. He gets this twitchy frown on his face as you start cracking up at what was obviously meant to be a serious command.

You are at a school auction- you know, the kind that they use to raise money? Anyway, they also had a raffle drawing as part of the fun. Since you like fun, you bought yourself a raffle ticket. Finally, late in the program, they begin to draw the raffle tickets. Some people get massage tickets, one man got a manicure set (gotta wonder what he’s going to do with that), and one lucky bloke won a state of the art sound system. You vaguely wonder why the school needs more money if they can afford to give away things like that. Eventually, it comes to the grand prize. An all expense paid trip for two to the Caribbean. Oh, yeah. That’s the one you want. And you lucky dog, the number the guy with the microphone is reading… is yours!!!! Yes! You get up and start doing your patented victory dance right in the aisle. People are staring, of course, but you don’t care. Your too busy  patting your belly and whooping loudly, exulting in your victory, when the man comes up to check the number on your raffle ticket to confirm your win. And whoops, looks like you were wrong. Sucks for you.

Here’s another. You’re at your little sister’s soccer game, cheering her on. Aren’t you a nice person? You also brought your old chocolate lab, Gimly (or Fido, if you’re feeling boring), because he likes to get out of the house occasionally. You let him off leash to roam around a bit, and the old man looks like he’s enjoying it. Soon, it’s half time in the game (or a team calls a time out. I’m not clear on the rules of soccer.) The point is, the game has paused. That means that everybody in the stands gets an extremely clear view of your dog Gimly going out and taking a big old dump, right smack dab in the middle of the soccer field. And everyone knows it’s your dog, too, hard as you pretend you’ve never seen the stupid thing in your life. Really. Never seen it before.

Serious:

You’re dancing at a formal dance–you do these kind of things, because you’re classy like that. The dance ends, and your partner spins in and you dip her for a finale. But she weighs a bit more than you expected, and your arms weren’t prepared, you swear! You drop her on her noggin. Everyone turns to look at you. She starts crying, gets up and slaps you, and then leaves. Some obnoxious punk in the background starts applauding and the entire room laughs.

Getting an embarrassing gift. It’s your birthday party. Yay! You’re sitting around the coffee table, opening gifts from your friends and family. Your grandma hands you a brightly wrapped present. You open it with a smile on your face, which quickly fades, and you force it back until your cheeks hurt. Out of the package you pull some wildly patterned underwear! Everyone is watching–your friends, your cheeky little brother, and of course your potential love interest. If you want to make it even worse, tell about how your grandmother relates the tale of how she came across this deal at the thrift store. Only two dollars! What a steal!

You’re on your way to the public restroom, along with some friends. You’re talking animatedly to your friend of the opposite gender, and you’re so caught up in the conversation that you don’t notice as you walk into the bathroom with your friend. You look around and suddenly realize that you’re in the wrong place. And everybody’s staring at you. And maybe someone starts screaming, if you want to go that far.

Hot: For the truly daring.

You show up at a Star Trek convention dressed as a Star Wars character. Enough said.

Reverse Pinocchio Syndrome

It started off with eyebrows.

Now hold on, don’t leave yet- I’ll explain everything.

The eyebrows.

I was reading this manga, see, and the main villain didn’t have any eyebrows. Well, being the intellectual person that I am, I started thinking. My conclusion: people without eyebrows are bad news. I can think of many examples (at least from Japanese anime) of the bad guys having a conspicuous lack of facial hair.

Example: Gaara, from the iconic series Naruto. Hold on!! Don’t leave yet, ye throngs of angry fans! For the record, I know that he’s a good guy now. He’s great. He’s the goodest of the good guys. But… he started as a bad guy- killing lots of people and inflicting wanton destruction on the Hero’s Hometown–  definitely qualifies one for a “villain” status.

Villain material. Right there.

Other examples of bad guys who lack eyebrows: Yokoya Norihiko (Liar Game), Pitch Black (Rise of the Guardians), Alvin the Treacherous (who’s missing more body parts than just eyebrows), Charlie Rakes (Lawless), Wormtounge (from Lord of the Rings. Duh.), and in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, antagonist Cyrus found eyebrows unnecessary in his perfect world. Also, there was that random clerk from Macy’s who we’re convinced is actually a super-villain. Because she had no eyebrows, you see. 

So now, you might be wondering how this has anything to do with Pinocchio. Well, I’ll explain. Once we’ve deduced that a lack of eyebrows is a sure sign of villainy, well, it follows that when an eyebrowless villain gets the hero talk and turns his life around, his brows  must come back! We were thinking one hair per good deed sounds about right. This is good news for all you people lacking excessive amounts of ornamental facial hair! Simply become a hero, and all your eyebrow woes will vanish!

See what I mean?

OK, still not seeing how this has anything to do with Pinocchio… well here it is. Growing eyebrows is a sign of a good guy, right? But when Pinocchio’s nose grows, it’s because he tells a lie. Lies are bad, right? It’s a very villainous thing to do. Therefore, people with long noses are most certainly bad guys (write that down, kids). It’s a fact of life- look at many TV shows, cartoons, whatever. Bad guys rock the long noses.

Now, lets continue the logic here. Bad guys have no eyebrows, but eyebrows grow on good guys. Bad guys have long noses, therefore… (come on, figure it out. I’ve given you way more clues than you ever wanted) Noses shrink on good guys!!!!!

I’ll pause so you can do a face palm now.

How did you never see that before??? We know, we know- take a few moments for yourself. Deep revelations like this can be quite a shock. But we’ve found that the better a guy gets, the smaller his nose. People with no noses? Saints. In light of this, the Ninja Gang has found utmost sympathy for poor, misunderstood Voldemort.   We’ve walked you through the logic. It’s right there- Voldemort, whose nose has recessed right into his face, is probably the best guy on the planet.

Isn’t he cute, now that you know the secret?

Via what we call the Reverse Pinocchio Syndrome, you can now know the truth about Voldemort, and other olfactory challenged beings. Alvin the Treacherous, The Silence, the whole nose-less gang…  They’re actually really swell guys, aren’t they?

Fulfilling your God Complex

A guide to planning your own campaign (read: story)  in your own world. Also useful in any story writing or creative endeavor that requires plot development and world building. I figured people could use it.

Tabletop RPGs. For those of you who are way too into technology, those are role playing games from the days when computers took up entire rooms. In other words, these are played without technology.

With these.

Hugo, Thomas, and I got together, and Hugo and Thomas insisted that I start an RPG for them. Long story short, they liked it, and want me to continue it next time. The only problem is- how? How the heck are you supposed to come up with a plot, and a world, and characters?

I have compiled a guide for exactly how I (or how I should have) went about designing my campaign and forming a plot, for those of you who were like me and had absolutely no idea were to start. I will also have a list of resources I found (on numerous internet crawls) helpful in my world creation, to be included at the bottom of the page. *Please keep in mind, this is merely how I designed my campaign/adventure, and it probably won’t work for everybody.*

One more note, before I get started. Thomas, Hugo, and I decided to skip on the whole Dungeons and Dragons thing, eschewing hours upon hours of dice rolling. Mostly, I made my own improvised system, which involved them picking two stats, facing enemies, and then acting out the following combat. Hey, don’t judge- they liked it! Whereas I know that this system is probably not going to work for anyone else, this post is really about planning a story, anyway. And most of the resources at the bottom are geared toward a Dungeons and Dragons style RPG.

But, it’s all just a starting point. I know I got so sick of reading this advice when I was looking for how to plan a campaign, but you really do have to find how much preparation you want to put into this, and what style works for you. Also, there are lots of pre-made campaigns and settings that you can use, if that might be easier.

Just keep in mind the number one rule of Game Mastering: Nothing will ever, ever, go according to plan.

  • Step one: Know your players. (For story writing, know your audience)

Man, this would have saved me a lot of work, had I just asked my players what they wanted out of the game before I began planning. A list of helpful questions to ask would be: Would they rather have a sandbox (more exploring the world, less plot driven), or a plot focused game? A fighting game or a mystery game? A complex plot that they have to decipher, or a simpler, less confusing plot? Seriously, you need to ask these questions before you get started. They will determine what kind of game you design, the setting, how much work you need to put into it, and what type of work you need to put into it.

I didn’t ask these questions, and here I was, planning this huge world to explore, complete with warring factions, deep mysteries to decipher, and lots of juicy political tension and warfare. Because those are the types of plots I enjoy! But then I went and asked Hugo what he wanted? A fighting game. A fighting game. Based on working one’s way up to the top of a gladiatorial arena. Lovely.

  • Step Two: Basic Setting

There are two ways of building a world; from the inside-out and from the outside-in. From the inside out means that you start with a small setting, say, a village, and you build your world outwards from there. The plus side of this is, you only have to design where your PC’s go- no extra time wasted mapping places they’ll never visit. From the outside-in means having a concept for a world, and then designing a specific country. Then a specific region. Then a city. Then a tavern, and so forth. The advantage of this is that there is more ways to incorporate ideas from all across the world into your story. Since you always know more about the world than what the PCs are doing at the time, more possibilities for adventure open up.

(From the Dungeon Master’s Guide: Core Rulebook II v. 3.5 (Dungeons & Dragons d20 System))

I did the first style of world building, and we started immediately with just a basic setting. I stuck Hugo and Thomas in a gladiator style arena, gave them some equipment, described their opponents, and told them to fight. I made up the details of the Arena and why they were fighting in it later. There are many more basic settings for characters meeting- such as taverns, if you’re in the mood for a cliche.

  • Step Three: Basic Villain

Fact: for conflict, one needs a villain. Another fact: Players like adventure and conflict. Conclusion: You need a villain. I didn’t make up a huge elaborate scheme for the villain to perpetrate, complete with exact rituals and goon uniform designs. I just made the main person who will be engaged in villainous activity, and what they are trying to do. Motivations are also important to make a world and plot deeper- why is the villain doing what they’re doing? I can’t actually tell you what I came up with on this post,  because my players might read it and that would be spoilers. Examples of villainous goals would be trying to take over a city, trying some ritual to kill members of a certain population, or the cliche- trying to get a hold of a powerful Mcguffin for some reason or another.

If you’re really stuck, or don’t have any idea about what you want to do, one of the documents at the bottom includes a list of different types of master villains, for your perusing pleasure.

  • Step Four: More Setting

I read some advice on the internet, saying that if you had enough tension-causing event in your world, and enough interesting NPC’s doing interesting things, adventure would follow. If you have enough involved elements and plot threads to follow, an adventure will naturally come together.

This is the place to think about the various elements that are going to affect your setting and game. If your adventure is set in a isolated village being attacked by orcs, you need to think about the groups and factors that make this possible. Flesh out the orc tribe, and decide what they want (as I believe I already mentioned, NPC motivations are very important). Then think about the village. What is it doing in the middle of nowhere? Who rules it? What have they done about the orcs already? Here is also the place to come up with more of what the Master Villain is doing, as well as minor villains and scapegoats to run into. It doesn’t need to be anything super elaborate, just a basic idea of what the villain is doing, and how it might be possible. If going with a traditional dungeon crawling game, mapping out the dungeons and reasons for the characters to go into them would be essential.

Since I went with a city adventure, I thought out who ruled this city, and what they were doing. I thought about the major nobility, and what they were up to. Then I designed the ordinary people’s guilds, and that they wanted. Next came the criminal underworld (essential in any setting, I think), and some of the activities the PC’s could get involved with if they poked around in the right places.

Anyway, I hope that is enough to at least set you on the journey to designing an interesting campaign. I’ll do another post later about ways to come up with ideas, and brainstorming methods that can lead to breakthroughs. To continue in your RPG journey, the list of resources below have been gathered to help you with the next steps.

Ciao,

Zepher

  • VCR (Very Constructive Resources, or the stuff I used to help me):

Nightcloak’s Essential Guide to a Game Master’s Notebook. Really, the whole blog at (http://gmfoundation.wordpress.com/) has some pretty helpful articles and resources. Here’s the link to the specific pdf download:   (https://sites.google.com/site/medic78/GMNotebook.pdf?attredirects=0)

http://geek-related.com/ is a blog that also has some good stuff about role playing games. Specifically, there’s a helpful article about campaign planning similar to this one: (http://geek-related.com/2011/10/08/campaign-planning/)

(http://www.rpgmusings.com/2012/08/planning-the-start-of-a-new-campaign-my-process/) Another article about a person’s particular planning process.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/124208719/List-of-Plot-Devices  A document I made years ago for random fun. I compiled a huge list of plot devices and various character encounters, master villain types, minor villain types, ally encounters, things like that.

Yet another list of random adventure ideas. Compiled by OFTHEHILLPEOPLE. (http://fictivefantasies.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/random-adventure-generator1.pdf)

And finally, guides (?) for how an actual RPG is supposed to look like. I had no idea how an RPG was supposed to go, or what it looked like in reality, and these were the most useful resources.

Star Wars as an RPG. What could be cooler? (http://www.darthsanddroids.net/)

The last thing: a few full RPG adventures, demonstrating what an adventure looks like when done right. Also makes from pretty darn good  reading. Forum documenting SilverClawShift’s Campaign Journals. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116836)

Please (don’t) do it yourself

Finally, a post from Zepher! The theoretical masses were about to riot, and the proverbial fat people at the top of the proverbial line were about to proverbially fire me. Fortunately, I now have several drafts in progress, and this new, brilliantly paced post. If you want to get mad at someone, go hit Thomas!!! He hasn’t written anything at all!! OHHH, he’s bigger than you and I’m not, huh? Is that it?!? (GET ON WITH IT!) Okay, okay, hold your horses… Come to think of it, what does OK mean anyway? Okey dokey? ‘Cause that sounds really stupid. Not to mention, ‘dokey’ doesn’t start with a ‘k’. Perhaps it means obvious katastrophe. (sorry about the atrocious spelling and the rather lame acronym. Best I have on short notice. As you can see, I’m not the one who runs Zenith Enterprises Acronym Providing Service.)

Get on with it! Or I will release the Kraken… in your bathtub!

Ohhh, after that threat I had really better get on with it.

Recently, I had the dubious pleasure of taking a drive through Oregon. Oh, did I just reveal where I live? No, I’m much too clever for that. See, I don’t live in Oregon! Now, for all you creepy stalker types out there, that just narrows it down to forty-nine other states. Helpful, huh? Actually, that would be forty-eight if you’re clever, because I probably don’t live in Hawaii. If I did, why the heck would I be driving across Oregon at this time of year? Exactly.

Actually, Oregon was very cold and icy and unpleasant, as I am used to much warmer climes. Oh, another clue? Could be, or I could just be trying to throw you off. I’m tricky like that.

So now for my observations about the boring state of Oregon. Sorry to all you Oregonians, but honestly, I did not see a single dinosaur statute by the side of the road. Not a single one! People, you need to keep your state up to code. The Ninja Gang has standards! But besides the disappointing lack of dinosaurs (and yes, where we live, we do have them. Another clue? Geez, you’re desperate if you really think that’s going to tell you.), Oregon had some advantages and some disadvantages.

Advantage: Here it is. Get ready…. NO SALES TAX!!!! People in California gasp in disbelief! But yes, it’s true (seriously). Oregon has absolutely no sales tax! I was in the self check out line buying a DVD of Monty Python bonus features, and the price appeared as 9.99.   And then guess what? I clicked the finish transaction button… … … and the final price was still 9.99!!!!! I nearly fainted. But, before you go flocking over there in untold droves, remember that Oregon still sucks to live in because it has super high property taxes to make up for the lack of sales tax. If the government doesn’t steal your money one way, it must find another, right? Because, you know, the government not stealing your moneywould be unthinkable…

Disadvantage:

Imagine the scene. You’re in a normal state, and you drive into a gas station. You get out of you car, insert your credit card. You take the nozzle out, insert it into your car. Then you fill your tank, complete the transaction, and go on your merry way. The whole scene takes less than five minutes, right?

Not if you’re in Oregon…

You can read. You see what it says.

Directions for getting a full tank of gas in Oregon. (Correction. Directions for sitting in your car waiting for someone else to get you a full tank of gas in Oregon)

Step one: Drive into gas station and pull up to pump.

Step two: Sit in your car for about five minutes, until the guy listening to heavy metal music at eighty decibels in the station realizes you’er actually there. Honking your horn a few times can help speed this step up.

Step three: Sit in your car and hand the guy your credit card for him to insert in the slot. Because in Oregon, everyone knows its the highly dangerous job of highly trained professionals to insert those highly volatile credit cards into the slots. Ahh, those brave gas station attendants.

Step four:  Sit in your car and wait for him to insert the nozzle into your car. Because, honestly, you’re not capable of doing this yourself. Are you noticing a trend here?

Step five: Sit in your car waiting for the tank to fill. (the only step that’s the same in both scenarios)

Step six: Sit in your car waiting about ten minutes for the one guy to make his way around to the seven other cars and insert their gas pumps. Because they’re all hopeless incompetents too.

Step seven: Finally, he’s back. Sit in your car and wait for him to take the nozzle out of your car and put it back on the pump.

Step eight: Sit in your car and wait for him to get your receipt out of the machine. Again, it’s working around those credit cards, and should be left to the pros.

Step nine: Drive out of this place as fast as you can! You’ve already wasted about a quarter of an hour paying someone to do something for you that you’ve only done about a zillion times.

Step ten: Repeat when you need gas again.

Yep, that’s what we went through in every single darn gas station in Oregon. It is against the law to fill up your own gas tank. Nope, you have to pay extra to get their highly trained sulky teenagers to do this dangerous task for you.

Those elite few…

Signing off because I need to go watch some anime,

Zepher

Rebellion Leader Wanted

Something that I wrote for a school assignment (hah! Who said school always involves mundanity? Not the Ninja Gang! Adding surrealism to teachers’ lives since… whenever it is that we formed)

Anyway…

To Whom it May Concern:

I happened to be walking down Main Street seventeen and three-fourths days ago (at the time of writing), and saw your bright red advertisement (with a slight grammatical error in the third row) stating (in no uncertain terms) that your rebellion is in desperate need of a leader. Well, in that matter I believe I can be of some service. While I haven’t lead any rebellions before, I do have some tactical planning expertise; I have read twelve books concerning the tactics used by Caesar Silverburg in the Adiamic Wars (against battering rams and such), as well as studied (quite exhaustively, I might add) General Stickler’s On the Proper and Creative Deployment of Calvary in Foggy Conditions.

On the subject of the other requirement mentioned in you bright red advertisement, I believe I am both charismatic and an excellent cook. I have written exactly fourteen speeches to date, nine of them on inspirational subjects (with various degrees of inspiration resulting). Plus, I believe in learning on the job, and I can quickly adapt in any situation where a rousing speech might be required. I am also a very experienced and and precise cook, with ten years, six months, and three weeks of experience (I began to cook at ten and one half years of age), and I follow all recipes with utmost accuracy.  Fernando Pasch (a distinguished battering ram designer, my younger sister, and Dame Huga of Ravensbrook can all attest to the quality of my cooking, as well as any other personal references you might requires.

I hope that you will seriously consider all of my qualifications, and grant me the honor of leading you growing rebellion.

Sincerely,

Eiran Galahad Chalice

Bit of a character, isn’t he… So what do you think- should he get the job?

Funny things (seriously. Really funny.)

In the next phase in my brilliant, sophisticated  and wholly original plan to entertain you, I’m going to show you funny things. Well, I found them funny, at least. A picture, a joke, a website, a song, and a quote. Are you looking forward to it? Of course you are, because you’re the kind of person who loves being entertained. And if you’re not, what the heck are you doing on his site?

A funny joke (what other types are there?):

A mine owner advertised for new workers and three guys turned up- a German, and Italian, and a Japanese. The owner tells the German, “You’ll be in charge of the mining”. He tells the Italian “you’ll be in charge of the lift.” And he tells the Japanese “you’ll be in charge of making sure we have supplies.” The next day the three men went into the mine, and at the end of the day one man was missing, the Japanese. They searched for him for hours, and just when they were about to give up, he jumped out from behind a rock yelling “Supplies! Supplies!”

Since that joke just reminded me of another one, I’m going to tell you two jokes, you lucky dogs. This one’s slightly crude, so if you’re under the age of ten (maybe twelve?), skip it.

A Brit, a Frenchman, and a Russia were viewing a painting of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The Brit said “They look so calm. They must be British.” The Frenchman replied “Nonsense. They’re naked, and very beautiful. They must be French people.” The Russian disagreed “I don’t think so. They have no clothes, no shelter, they have only an apple to eat, and they’re being told this is paradise. They are Russian.”

Want another one, do you? Too bad- I already gave you one extra. Don’t be greedy. Next, an entertaining website.

Check out   http://www.eviloverlord.com/lists/overlord.html

You’ll be glad you do. *ALERT! RANDOM INTERRUPTION OF COMPLETE RANDOMNESS! BECAUSE COMPLETELY RANDOM THINGS ARE ALSO PRETTY FUNNY.

My dad, in a nutshell.

Now we return you to your regularly scheduled program- a relatively funny song.

And finally, a funny quote.

“Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.”

― Lemony Snicket

Hmmm… It’s funny, but not ha ha funny. Whatever- it still counts. Besides, I can’t think of a funnier one right now, so you’re just going to have to deal with it.

Now that I’ve hopefully made you laugh (maybe just a smirk?),

Zepher

P.S. Okay, you got me. I looked it up and found another funny quote. Geez.

“I have six locks on my door all in a row. When I go out, I lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking three. ”
Elayne Boosler

P.S.S. Found another one. I can’t keep doing this!

“A pessimist is a person who has had to listen to too many optimists. ” –Don Marquis

One more…. Arghhhhh! It’s just so funny! *pant pant*

“I have tried to know absolutely nothing about a great many things, and I have succeeded fairly well.”
Robert Benchley